Community Stories

Rising to the challenge

We did it Red Deer! Our city has been named Canada’s Most Active Community in the 2022 ParticipACTION Community Better Challenge.

The Community Better Challenge is a national physical activity initiative that encourages Canadians to get active in search of Canada’s Most Active Community. Throughout the month of June, communities across Canada competed by logging activity on the ParticipACTION app and website. From there, 50 finalist communities were selected and invited to submit an application explaining why they deserve to be Canada’s Most Active Community.

“What an accomplishment it is to be named Canada’s Most Active Community!” said Mayor Ken Johnston. “I have always said that being active is part of the DNA of Red Deer – our parks and trails and world class amenities make it easy to be active. We also know that physical activity can break down walls and act as a building block to grow stronger communities by boosting the confidence and happiness of individuals. And that is exactly what we saw during this challenge.”

Red Deer was consistently in the top three in Alberta throughout the challenge, in fact, we held first place in Alberta for about a week and first place in Canada for a few days. We were in the top five communities for the entire month in both Alberta and Canada. Our community tracked over 19 million active minutes, with over 700 community members participating.

Community mobilization played a critical role in Red Deer earning this honour – and the $100,000 grand prize! Too lengthy to list, but we encouraged a broad range of community partners, organizations and businesses to join the Community Better Challenge. Other ways we engaged the community:

  • Mayor Johnston issued a challenge to City of Red Deer staff and citizens to get involved.
  • Through the Red Deer Wellness Alliance, we encouraged organizations within Red Deer and Central Alberta to apply for the ParticipACTION grant. The alliance also encouraged less-active members in our community to get involved by creating mini ParticipACTION events in the community.
  • With funding from the ParticipACTION Saputo grant the Move Your Mood program created a local challenge and offered prizes for participants who shared their photos on social media.
  • A Community Better Red Deer social media platform was created, local media outlets shared the information along with schools, sport and community organizations and businesses.
  • Move Your Mood & SPARC Red Deer spray painted interactive games in two new locations and challenged families to play the games around Red Deer to win prizes.
  • Encouraged and supported local organizations and businesses in tracking their activities.

The Alberta Health Services Move your Mood program was also closely connected with our efforts. Move your Mood is a healthy lifestyle program for children, youth, and families that teaches Albertans how physical activity improves both mental and physical wellness. Building on this program, we created mini Move Your Mood activities with a signature grant from Saputo through ParticipACTION. These events took place at local child and youth mental health programs, adult mental health programs, social agencies and local schools.

“Having been a champion of the ParticipACTION Community Better Challenge for the last three years, we’ve seen the challenge grow every year in our community, and 2022 was our year to shine!” said Denise Fredeen, Move Your Mood Coordinator with Alberta Health Services. “AHS is a partner that promotes the challenge as it offers an opportunity to connect with the entire community and encourage everyone to get active to improve their mental and physical wellness. We won this challenge by creating community connections, building capacity and having fun while getting active together. It truly is an honour to be recognized as Canada’s Most Active Community.”

The title of Canada’s Most Active Community comes with a $100,000 prize, to be used to support physical activity opportunities in the community. We will work in collaboration with our community partners to address the needs of the community and create more programs and opportunities to engage citizens to be active, healthy and connected. We look forward to sharing with the community how this money will be used to enhance opportunities for Red Deerians to be active.

Congratulations Red Deer!